Mustapha Sholagbade is not a new name in the Nigerian movie industry with several movies to his credit. The dark skinned and handsome actor made his name featuring in films with Yoruba as a major language. In this interview with ADENIYI ADEWOYIN, Sholagbade reveals how he went from being an apprentice in a tailoring shop to becoming an actor.
HOW would you describe your journey into Nollywood?
I will say it’s the Grace of God because I never thought of being an actor but thank God I discovered myself on time. My parents wanted me to become an apprentice at some point so they took me to a fashion designing place and nursing as well but I couldn’t cope and one day, I came home and told my mom I wanted to start acting, she was like are you ok? She insisted we wait for my dad to return so we can tender it to him. When my dad came, he took it up and that was how everything started.
Thanks to Alhaji Taiwo Hassan (Ogogo) who gave me the opportunity to become all I am today because my parents actually took me to him to practise theatre art from Odunfa Caucus. I learnt from the likes of Yinka Quadri, Abbey Lanre, Sunny Alli, Alesh Onilegbele, Lekan Oropo and Dele Ogundipe to mention a few, they are all my bosses. I think it is just God’s plan for me to be an actor because I was only in SS2 when I told my parents about my dream to act and they accepted immediately. You know they wanted me to be busy with something after school which was why they took me to a fashion designing school but I wasn’t interested in it, although I was already good at sewing clothes, I only had challenges in cutting materials. I used to go to the shop after school everyday to learn tailoring until I made that decision.
What has been your biggest challenge as an actor?
A lot of things like the industry stress as a whole but thank God for persistence. It hasn’t been easy at all from the start to get to where I am today so I return all the glory to Almighty God. I see the challenges as a stepping stone so I don’t complain about it. I simply call on God when I am depressed, trust me, depression is real.
You once said no one should mourn you when you die, what brought about that post?
That wasn’t what I meant and that write up wasn’t written originally by me. A colleague actually wrote it and I picked it because I saw that it made a lot of sense so I copied it and posted on my page but people took it up and it went viral. People don’t celebrate achievements but once you die, they put it on their social media and start showing love to the dead. We should all learn to celebrate each other while alive.
Considering the belief that a lot of entertainers have died after writing or singing about death, were you not scared anything could happen when you posted that on Instagram?
Well, I believe that people only die when it is their time. I don’t believe that there is anything like mistake, things happen for a reason mostly orchestrated by God. There was a time we were shooting a movie, I was to play a role where I would sleep in a coffin but I was like no I can’t, what if I had slept in that coffin, people would have written different things about it or meanings to it.
Many people have different things to say about 2020, what would you say about the year? What are your gains and loses if any?
It was very rewarding I must confess. I have achieved a lot of things as an actor that is known to quite a number of people and other things that I want to keep private for now. God has been faithful so far.
You just returned from the UK, what was your trip about? Are you producing a movie over there or was it just for vacation?
I only went to visit my family not for any production purpose.
The UK is one of the most affected countries by COVID-19 in the world, how was the screening process in terms of avoiding the spread of the virus compared to Nigeria?
The process was well organized compared to Nigeria. There are protocols you must follow.
You seem to be a very religious person, does your belief affect the type of roles you play in movies?
My religion doesn’t affect my roles in movies at all because my job is to pass messages to people out there to learn from what I am doing. I am just there to interpret roles so I am just like a prophet.
Why would you reject a script?
I won’t take a badly written script or a bad pay for a role.
Which would you go for, a good pay but bad script or bad pay but good script?
A good script and good pay work hand in hand. I would rather put my knowledge into a bad story to make it perfect. If it is a bad pay and good story then we will check and balance but I won’t take worse pay.